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Airbnb threatens to sue if New York state passes 'unlawful bill’ over ads

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The site is calling the bill a violation of First Amendment rights

Back in June, the New York State legislature passed a bill that would make any advertising on Airbnb of entire homes for rent fewer than 30 days a violation, punishable by up to $7,500 in fines. Since then, the bill has been awaiting review from Governor Cuomo but in a bold move, Airbnb has issued a threat: if Cuomo signs the bill they’re suing New York State, reports Gothamist.

While it is already illegal to rent out your entire apartment for less than 30 days without your actual presence in the home, Airbnb is arguing that the new legislation is a violation of First Amendment rights and a way to illegally regulate web content beyond state borders, states Gothamist. The accommodations site claims that they are fully capable of self-regulating to prevent these illegal listings (though a report conducted by MFY Legal Service and Housing Conservation Coordinators suggests otherwise).

In a letter to Governor Cuomo’s office, Airbnb’s general counsel Rob Chesnut wrote that he’s only introducing the plans for a lawsuit ""out of respect for the process and to inform [Cuomo’s] considerations." To go along with his "informative," Airbnb is launching an ad campaign that will exhibit various Airbnb hosts detailing personal stories while pleading with Cuomo to not sign the bill. Let’s see how this one plays out.